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Family of kidnapped Turkey citizen in Libya calls for his release

Demonstrators wave a large Turkish flag as take part in a rally against eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar and in support of the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA) in Martyrs' Square in the GNA-held capital Tripoli on 10 January 2020. [MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images]
Demonstrators wave a large Turkish flag as take part in a rally against eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar and in support of the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA) in Martyrs' Square in the GNA-held capital Tripoli on 10 January 2020. [MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images]

The family of the Turkish citizen Halil Gozel, who was kidnapped by the militia of renegade General Khalifa Haftar about 11 months ago, expressed concern about his fate, while demanding details of his whereabouts be revealed and that he be released.

Gozel's 27-year-old daughter Meltem said her father had been working in Libya for many years, adding that she and her family are very distressed about losing contact with him and concerned about his fate.

Her father, she explained, was in Sirte when the family lost contact with him on 6 February 2020, saying: "It has been 11 months since I lost contact with my father. My husband was the last to speak with him on the phone on 3 February."

"We tried to contact him after that date, but there was a network problem. We were concerned when we had not heard from him," she continued.

"We learned from his Libyan colleagues who own shops in the same area where he worked that Haftar's forces took him to an unknown location because he held Turkish citizenship."

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"The world around us collapsed after we heard the news of my father's kidnapping. They are holding an innocent person just because he holds Turkish citizenship," she told Anadolu Agency, adding that his business partner and two staff members had also been disappeared, while nothing in their shop was looted.

Fifty-three-year-old Gozel was due to attend his daughter's wedding in June, Meltem said. "My father is loved by everyone. Even our neighbours' kids are always asking when uncle Halil will come back. The continued kidnapping of our father causes us a lot of suffering."

"The problem is that they kidnapped my father along with a number of Turkish merchants and workers there. My father is detained not due to a crime he committed, but because he is a Turkish citizen," she said.

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